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16th Aug 2023

Vogue Williams to donate clothes to Barnardos after ‘eye-opening’ visit to Waterford centre

Emily Mullen

It’s for such a good cause.

Last Thursday, Barnardos and Heinz set up shop in the Drury Buildings for a breakfast event to provide a ‘meal with a message’.

TV presenter and podcaster, Vogue Williams, was in attendance as Barnardos’ ambassador.

In truth, this isn’t your regular collaboration or event. In fact, every now and again, you remember what you’re there for and count your lucky stars.

This collaboration highlights something gravely important that many of us are unaware is happening in Ireland, and perhaps even feel uncomfortable thinking about: Food poverty.

Barnardos and Heinz have joined forces to support their work with children and families across Ireland, by giving Heinz’s iconic Beanz packaging a makeover for a second time running.

Vogue joins the mission as an ambassador with her own three children at the forefront of her inspiration for helping other families.

The highly-recognisable breakfast staple has now launched a special three-pack of ‘Heinz Meanz Mealz’ cans (pictured above), with every pack sold supporting children who may not always have a warm breakfast available.

While the packaging is heartwarming, it is contrasted by the harrowing reminder of the reality: not every child has a warm breakfast available to them.

As the final few weeks of the summer holidays play out, it is estimated that more than a million Irish children will be back at school in the coming weeks.

For some parents, this is cause for celebration. For struggling parents, this brings a fresh new set of fears about how they will feed their children and fuel their bodies and minds this school year.

This isn’t just about the lack of food and nutrients, it’s how hunger can affect other developmental issues in areas such as physical health, mental health, education and social wellbeing.

Unfortunately, too many Irish families are living in food poverty as the cost of living and inflation has left parents in dire straits.

With this in mind, Heinz Beanz and Barnardos have decided to fight back against food poverty for a second time by bringing back its limited-edition three-pack of ‘Heinz Meanz Meals’ cans.

This is where the packaging makeover comes in.

Fans of the breakfast staple can now pick up a pack from stores nationwide.

For every pack purchased, Heinz will be making a donation to Barnardos Breakfast Clubs.

This sees the children’s charity provide nutritious breakfast food, such as Heinz No Added Sugar Beanz which are naturally high in protein and fibre, to selected Barnardos centres across Ireland.

The donation comes as part of a partnership between Heinz and Barnardos, with the two companies working together since 2020 to help families find a way up from the food poverty line.

This comes following the incredible work done by both Heinz and Barnardos last year.

The children’s charity supported upwards of 20,000 children and families, of which Heinz helped, by contributing 5,000 meals.

Speaking about the ambassadorship with Barnardos Ireland, Vogue said: “I can’t imagine the worry that many families must be going through. No one should be unsure when or where their next meal is coming from, especially children.

“Working with Heinz and Barnardos, together, we hope to not only raise awareness of this growing issue taking place on our doorstep, but to also highlight that a small, tangible act – such as buying a pack of Heinz Beanz – can have a big impact and help support those most vulnerable in the community.”

The mum-0f-three has over 1 million followers, many of which are parents themselves and may resonate with the message she promotes for the charity.

She also took a seat on a panel of four on the day of the breakfast event, joining Clinical Psychologist, Dr Malie Coyne, and representatives from Heinz and Barnardos to discuss the lasting and dangerous effects growing up in food poverty can have on children, and their parents.

Clodagh Carroll from Barnardos Ireland, told those at the event that when it comes to food poverty, it’s never just that.

“It’s that and a multitude of layers of challenges that we help them overcome.  But it might be that [food poverty] that gets them to our door,” she explained.

She also says there have been some worrying trends that have emerged in the last number of years.

“Families are presenting who otherwise kind of would seem that they have their ducks in a row. We really feel housing is a huge stress. And the general cost of everything would be a major crisis for our families.”

Barnardos Ireland is a trauma-informed organisation, something which Clodagh believes is necessary given the impacts food poverty, homelessness, and living inn disadvantaged areas can have on families.

It focuses on the impact of trauma on children growing up and the impacts it has on parents.

“What of the key principles of being trauma-informed is certainty, security, safety. If you remove all of those from a family, you’re actually putting them in a situation that is trauma-inducing,” Clodagh reasons.

Clinical Psychologist, Dr Malie Coyne, says the only task for a child growing up should be to ‘thrive, play freely, learn, and experience life’ which are essential to develop as a human being.

She says if a child doesn’t have enough nutritional food, these tasks are heavily impacted.

In a study carried out, it was found that a third of parents had admitted that rising food prices have or had a negative impact on their children physical health, while a third said it had an impact on their mental health, education, and social well-being.

“This is not just about not having enough food on the table, this is like the ripple effect of the not having enough food on the table and how it impacts their overall development.”

Want to join the fight? You absolutely can.

By purchasing three-packs of ‘Heinz Meanz Mealz’ Beanz that are now available from major retailers such as Dunnes, Tesco, SuperValu and Aldi now, as well as convenience stores, you’ll be socking one to food poverty and feeding your own family simultaneously.

This article originally appeared on 

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